Vlog by Ludivine: see below.
It’s our 200th travel day today! We are at half of our trip (we’ve always said that we’ll be traveling for 400 days but we don’t know exactly in fact: we plan to return around 15 August, which will make 396 days; let’s see…).
I prepared a list of activities for Auckland but it’s difficult to put them on a programme in advance since the weather is changing so quickly. The weather forecast is terrible for our stay in Auckland: it’s basically raining every day except today.
That’s why I put the alarm clock at 8am this morning. We plan to do the ‘Coast to Coast Walkway’; it heads right across the country, from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean, which is actually only 16km. We leave at 9am. We want to do the walk from the Tasman Sea (Manukau Gulf) to the Pacific Ocean (Hauraki Gulf), mainly to arrive at the end of the walk in the lively Wynyard Quarter and Viaduct Harbour districts.
We take a Uber to Onehunga and start the walk at 10am. The weather is good (sunny, 22C). We start with the rather chic suburbs of the city. The walk encompasses One Tree Hill, Mt Eden, the Domain and the University, keeping mainly to reserves rather than city streets. It goes mostly up until Mt Eden, Auckland’s highest volcanic cone (196m), from where we have a great view on the entire isthmus and both harbours. The crater (50m deep) is covered with grass. We eat our picnic (sandwiches that I prepared this morning).
From there, we arrive in the city. This family walk is a great moment: we walk together and have interesting conversations. We discuss about college studies and jobs (Ludivine is very much interested in such subjects lately). Ludivine also comes with impromptu questions such as ‘what is your biggest regret in life?’. Not always easy to answer… We can feel that the 3 kids are very keen but also a bit anxious about going back to (settle in) Belgium: they have many questions about schools, scouts, pets, house, even the car that we will have and the job that I’ll do.
Before reaching the Domain, Isabelle goes with Florence to buy new trekking shoes for Florence while I continue with Ludivine and Jules on more commercial streets. We visit 3 different poke shops (Ha! Poke, Shaka Bowl and Poke Time), not really nice (except the concept of Ha! Poke, which is interesting: an equipped container placed in the university campus; great idea).
We meet at the (new) fantastic Giapo ice cream shop. As usual, I tried to find the best ice creams in town and most websites were unanimous: it seems clear that Giapo’s creations and their extravagant flavours temptations are possibly some of the best ice creams in the world and they apparently taste even more delicious than they look. Mouthwatering… Not surprisingly, there is a queue when we arrive. It moves quickly though and, once at the front, it’s all about the experience: we are not met with any glass fronted cabinets, we are instead greeted by hostesses at various stations who take us through the (sophisticated) menu, asked about allergies, offered (many) samples, and made to feel like we are the only person that matters at this moment. Over-delivery is the motto here. We sit outside, awaiting our ice creams (prepared in the kitchen), which meet our (high) expectations. Wow!
We also stop at ‘Goodlife Factory’ to buy one of their great superfood smoothies for Ludivine.
We continue the walk, arriving at the Viaduct Harbour around 5pm. Great walk (it was named ‘one of the 10 best city’s walks in the world).
We continue to the Silo Park, where they are preparing for the outdoor cinema tonight, with nice food trucks and DJ.
We go back home on foot. Isabelle and I stop at the New World supermarket to buy stuff to do pancakes.
Isabelle prepares them at home and we eat them before going out again… to the movies this time. We go to the ‘Open Air Cinema’ in the Western Springs Park, near the Auckland Zoo. I booked tickets online for the Greatest Showman. I love to go to the movies in family. We dress warmly, take our fluffy blankets, take the beanbags that are in the house and hop into 2 Uber. We arrive there at 7:30PM, more than one hour before the movie. The atmosphere is great. There are many people; we lay back right in front, an ideal place. The movie is great; a perfect feel-good movie. We all enjoy, even Jules who was not very enthusiastic about the movie beforehand. What a great evening!
We come back home (in Uber) at 11pm.
Kids fell asleep immediately. We walk 20 km today!
It was a fantastic 200th day! I love it. There has been a good “vibe” within the family during the whole day.